The panic when you’ve just finished writing your essay for an assignment due tomorrow and your computer crashes, that drop of the stomach when your hours into editing your short film footage and the program freezes, the devastation when you discover a virus has corrupted all your customer information, thank goodness you backed up your data, right?
Data backup comes in many forms and is invaluable no matter the contents. It allows you to store a second copy of your files in a separate location and to simply restore your lost information in the event of malfunction, viruses or damage. Technology is a finicky thing and there’s nothing quite as frustrating as losing hours of hard work as a result of that. If you haven’t already developed a habit of frequent saving with regular backups, now is the time to get started.
Reasons to Back up Your Data
- First and most obviously so you do not have to repeat your hard work for a second time. The last thing you want is to have to repeat or attempt to replicate work that you have already completed.
- Data archival is also important for auditing and tax reporting records. This allows companies to easily provide consolidated information upon request.
- Client/customer protection and trust. The relationship you have with your clients is incredibly important when it comes to retention. The loss of details pertaining to your clients will negatively impact your capacity to provide them with high calibre services and also likely impact their perception of your capabilities and effectiveness of lead sources.
- It’ll improve productivity whilst also providing you with a well-documented history. In having detailed backups, you are ensuring that you can reflect on previous states and stages which helps to improve in areas that may require it but also helps to track any changes and progresses made within your business.
- Perhaps most importantly, for peace of mind. No matter whether your business is a little shop of cigars online or a multinational company, having your data backed up will ensure that you never have to stress about the potential crisis’ that can arise.
What Data Should You be Backing Up?
Ideally, you’ll have multiple forms of back up for your different types of data. It’s also a common mistake for businesses to store their backup devices in the same location as the original. It’s all too easy to overlook the kinds of physical threats and only focus on the digital ones when it comes to things that can damage your storage devices. In the event of a fire, or a water related incident, having your back up device stored in the same location as the original can render its existence pointless.
When deciding on what to backup it’s best to cover all basis. Anything that is of value to you or your business that cannot be easily replaced from memory is valuable and should be backed up. This can include simple things such as;
- Pictures – including any graphic designs and branding agency materials.
- Documents – including minutes from any meetings or cold calling scripts etc.
- Videos – including any training or promotional materials
- Emails – including items that track agreements or procedural detail
In cases where your business is larger and manages complex and sensitive data it is always best practice to establish an IT department that is solely in charge of managing this work. These experts will be able to manage any upgrades, improvements and encrypt data where necessary.
Types of Data Backup
Depending on your familiarity and experience backing up data, you may not be aware that there are in fact many different forms off backup devices/services. Some are of course better geared for a personal or small scale back up, where others are much more complex and would be wasted on something like a personal device. Different examples of physical backup options include:
- Small, removable media; this includes items such as CDs, DVDs and small flash storage devices. This type of backup device is ideal for small scale data such as home videos and sample items. You’d typically see USB flash drives used for documents with little to no multimedia content as the storage space is typically quite limited.
- External or portable hard drives; these provide much more storage capacity and are often compact and relatively easy to cart around. Available in different sizes, the smaller end is ideal to back up personal items such as laptops/large quantities of personal photos and any other software.
- Backup services; these are predominantly only suitable for larger businesses as they have the highest amount of storage. You wouldn’t ever need as much space for a personal device. This is also generally more costly as it is externally managed and requires input from a digital storage provider.
As technology has progressed in the past decade, so too has our storage capabilities. It is becoming increasingly common to opt for an alternative form of storage known as ‘cloud storage’. Cloud storage, or ‘the cloud’ allows users to back up their data to the internet making it accessible from any device that has a web connection. Not only is this often more convenient, but it is also quite cost effective and allows collaboration, and documentation of documents or data to be tracked and traced.
Things to be Mindful of when Backing Up Data
Like most things, there are plenty of easy mistakes to make when backing up your data. It is very important to ensure you back up frequently, setting a reminder for yourself or installing automatic backups on a regular basis can help avoid any heartache of discovering your backup is out of date. In that same breath, the importance of checking and testing any backups regularly is often overlooked.
Many will back up their device or data and expect that it will be there however far into the future. It’s best practice to run diagnostics and ensure your required backups are intact. Where you are a larger business or holding sensitive information, your backup should also have a backup and should ideally be encrypted or protected with high grade security.